View Full Version : Outdoor sound...

04-18-2010, 07:23 PM

So... any thoughts on an outdoor sound system? Speakers to use? Running cables? Etc... Any suggestions would be a help at this point, thanks! -Tyler

04-18-2010, 08:30 PM
What i found worked the best for awesome sound was the mushroom speakers that have 360 degree sound..and wheather proof and you can even bury them in the ground a bit. There are tons of models that companies sell, alot of theme parks use these as well.


Mike Goff
04-19-2010, 05:56 PM
We have used outdoor sound in our haunted cornfield for 11 years, and have tried many different configurations, from 70v systems, daisy chained powered speakers, to tri amped pa equipment. We have even experimented with broadcasting (sound sucks, don't bother)

It all depends on the size of the area you are trying to cover, how patient your neighbors are, and the type of effect that you are looking for.

For the most part, outdoor rated speakers suck. The frequency response is terrible and they are very ineffecient. There are exceptions to the rule, but they are not cheap. Atlas makes outstanding outdoor speakers in either 8 ohm or 70v, but like I said they are not cheap. I believe that a single stadium horn is about $1400. We currently use a pair Atlas sm82's for our parade hearse, and are very happy with them.

If you have cranky neighbors, go with 70v speakers, this will give you the ability to place multiple speakers so you don't have to play it so loud.

If you have a large area to cover, and neighbors are not an issue, there is no substitue for size. I like 12" and 15" speakers. Sometimes we will set up different sound systems at different ends of the property but use complimenting and overlapping sound effects. You have to react quickly if you get a sudden rain, and they have to be taken down every night, but Pa speakers work very well, and allow you to keep cost down. If you can swing the $ for good quality outdoor speakers do it, it will save you alot of head ache.

Allen H
04-19-2010, 06:55 PM
Great responses! Im gonna watch this thread as its an area Im a bit ignorant in.
For my trail I use mp3 players on a USB charger (no batteries), then connected to 3pc computer speakers. Each set up costs about $60, and I started with four of them last year and Im going to have about 11 this year. Very happy with the quality of sound and the ease to take close up for the night. I keep them in a plastic tub with a lid replaced with scrim, the end of the night the manager takes the mp3 players and puts a regular lid on the tub (the speakers seem to have less of a percieved value so dont get stolen, even though they are the more expensive component).
I use the same set up inside as well except with out the tubs.
Allen H

04-19-2010, 08:07 PM
yes i agree a lot of outdoor speakers do blow big time...but the ones I have used are very crisp and clear and loud....we placed them just right in the corn field that anywhere in the field that the path was it sounded like there was sound 360 degrees on all sides....I figured if they were good enough for theme parks they were good enough for me!


Mike Goff
04-20-2010, 01:08 PM
we go to alot of auctions for various haunted house decorations, and my wife is addicted to Craigslist. We often find used home theatre systems in the $20-$30 range. Plug in an mp3 player and you have a pretty nice 5 channel system suitable for ambient sound like crickets, whispers, backward masking or anything else you can think of. If it gets wet, you are not out much.
As far as your main sound system; to me, it is arguably the single most important asset in a haunt. It sets the mood for the customers, it sets the mood for your actors, and it sets you apart from your competition.
Haunted attractions, are best when they are loud and chaotic. In the right atmosphere a great soundtrack being played through an, in your face sound system, can take your frikkin breath away. It will grab your attention, overwhelm the senses, and distract you for what comes next.

I have been to alot of otherwise great haunted houses, that neglect thier sound, and I will never understand why.

Truth be told, by comparison to my favorit haunts, ours is mediocre, but we pack em in, drive it like we stole it, and kick thier ass every night. With out great sound, we couldn't do it. Each year I spend almost 3 weeks just mixing soundtracks, yes it's that important.

BTW I'm a big fan of the Adam Johnston sound effects library and Terror Syndicate's Dreamscapes, money well spent and a great time saver. To get truly sick sound that fits your theme, mix it yourself

Allen H
04-20-2010, 06:00 PM
Mike we have different approaches to sound LOL.
I dont like hearing one room from another, and like to have two different sounds in each room. My style of show is less loud and chaotic and more mood and scene setting. I do use a single sound track to tie in the haunts hallways so they all feel connected. I like a few chaotic sounding areas and other areas that are super quiet so you can hear scuttling of actors you cant see.
I completely agree about mixing them your self. No one knows the feeling you want from your show more than you.
Allen H

Mike Goff
04-20-2010, 06:06 PM
Allen you are absolutely right, we all have our own styles and that's what makes our shows unique. And my take on sound will not work in every instance. Didn't mean to sound overbearing, just feel very passionate about in your face sound, and don't see it nearly as often as I would like. It does work very well for us and certainly sets the pace for our acting crew.